Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Failure to transfer powers impedes new beginning to policing - Kelly

14 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, spokesperson on Policing and Justice, lead a delegation to meet the Oversight Commissioners for Policing, Mr Al Hutchinson on the publication of his latest report. He was accompanied by Mr Raymond McCartney, MLA and Cllr. David Kennedy.

Afterwards, Mr Kelly said:

" Sinn Fein met with the Oversight Commissioner for Policing about this report and we raised a number of issues. Central to our concerns is the transfer of powers on policing and justice.

" Transfer of powers is not merely a recommendation of the Patten Commission but a mainstay of the Patten model for a new beginning to policing. Sinn Fein believes that the greatest barrier to creating the new beginning to policing is the failure to transfer powers of policing and justice. We have been pursuing this in negotiations with the Irish and British governments."

" This yearly summary is the twelfth report produced by the Oversight Commissioner for Policing over the past five years. It is our belief that there are serious, outstanding problems in the implementation of the Patten report including : representativeness ; civilianisation; demilitarisation ; and human rights, amongst other things. Indeed the Oversight Commissioner raises these matters within his report.

" Sinn Fein raised with the Oversight Commissioner the need for an honest appraisal of the religious and political composition of the PSNI. The targets set in Patten clearly envisages change in the composition of all components of policing including the Regular force, the Full Time Reserve, the Part Time Reserve, civilian workers and the NIO Police Division. The figures used by the Oversight Commissioner only cover the Regular Force. Indeed the true statistics show that the religious imbalance in policing is only being addressed by 1% each year. With this rate of change it will take at least 20 years before we had a representative policing service. This is not acceptable.

" The Oversight Commissioner also mentions how policing changes are impacting on the ground with real communities. We pointed out examples like the 12th July in Ardoyne as not auguring well for a new beginning to policing being delivered." ENDS

Editors Note: Gerry Kelly is available for interview on this issue at his Antrim Road Offices at 3pm

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